About the book
The Blood Keeper is the second book in The Blood Journals series by Tessa Gratton. The book was published by Corgi Children's on 4th April and the book is 432 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
On a secluded farm in Kansas lives Mab Prowd, a witch who practises blood magic. It is everything she knows and everything she is. She spends her days perfecting healing spells and understanding the world but when one big spell goes extremely wrong, Mab doesn't know what to do.
Will Sanger collides with Mab's spell gone wrong and immediately he is immersed into her life, whether he likes it or not. He's the kind of guy who has always relied on things that can be explained, logic and rules but Mab's presence and what she does draws him in, even when he tries to ignore it. The curse running through his body grows stronger day by day, slowly talking over Will's body. Mab knows she has to destroy the curse, and what is behind it, but is her magic strong enough to save everything she loves?
What I thought
The first book in this series was released just over a year ago, so going into this one meant barely being able to remember what had happened. The main thing I did remember though was that I loved it completely.
The Blood Keeper does not follow on exactly from that of Blood Magic, the first book. Instead of following previous characters, we get to see what life is like for Mab, The Deacon (sort of like the head) of the Blood Magic community. For those who have not read the first book, and do not know what blood magic is, Gratton goes over this in brief detail. As the magic is such a big part of Mab's life, she explains every now and again what it is and what it means. Blood Magic is using blood as part of spells, giving a sacrifice and feeling pain in order to achieve results. Now, while this sounds a bit gross, it is not written that way at all. The way that the magic works sounds beautiful and meaningful in the descriptions of its use.
As I can't really remember the protagonists too well from the first book, I didn't mind this one being about someone else. For those who have read Blood Magic though, Silla and Nick do turn up again in this one which was a nice touch. Mab was a fantastic protagonist though and this book is partly told through her narrative. The way in which she describes what she does is both moving and stunning. Blood magic is Mab's whole life and she has never known anything else. She lives to help others around her and make her world a better place. Mab has a heart of gold and it was obvious the whole way through this book that she was trying to do the right thing. She was also such a strong character, having complete command of her own life and she was confident in every decision she made.
Telling another part of the story is Will, the boy who lives in town and soon becomes a big part of Mab's life. In her attempt to create a body, raising a curse from the ground, something goes incredibly wrong and the mud monster collides with Will. This event sets the scene for the plot of this book and also the relationship that grows between the characters. Will on his own was very different from Mab, coming from a completely different kind of life. His family are in the forces, or have been, and the strict, regimented life is all he has ever known. Never did he think that magic would or could be real. I loved the contrast between the protagonists but they also managed to complement each other well.
Mab and Will's meeting happens quite early on in the book, making sure there is lots of time for exciting things to happen. Due to his collision with Mab's mud monster, something strange begins to happen to Will. His body begins to change, he gets sick a lot and he has no idea what is going on. Only Mab knows and she is the only one who can fix him. The whole plot concerning the mud monster, the curse within him and blood magic was wonderfully woven together. Each thing was exciting on its own but together, it provided dramatic scenes between Mab and Will, mystery and the unravelling of past secrets.
What I liked most about the plot was that it wasn't completely about romance. While there are moments between Mab and Will, their friendship/ relationship does not overpower the importance of the rest of the plot. The blood magic and the curse take precedence which was a great thing to see. Mab and Will having anything more between them was just an added bonus for me. I could have easily done without any romance but it was also a nice touch at the same time. I loved watching Mab and Will getting to know one another, to understand about a completely different way of life and opening up to things outside of their comfort zones.
The Blood Keeper was just as good as Blood Magic and I hope Tessa Gratton brings us more from this exciting and different world.
*This review will also be posted on my blog and other sites*